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IT Innovation, Oracle OpenWorld | October 24, 2018

Larry Ellison: Meet Oracle's Second-Gen, Secure-By-Design Cloud Infrastructure

By: Rob Preston

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Oracle has built a second-generation cloud infrastructure that represents a fundamental re-architecture of the conventional public cloud, because “the current state of the art of cloud defenses is just not good enough, not even close,” Oracle Executive Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison said during his keynote on Monday at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco.

In addition to delivering stronger security, Oracle’s second-generation cloud infrastructure also delivers price, performance, reliability, and other advantages that lead the industry, Ellison said.

First and foremost, this second-generation Oracle Cloud Infrastructure features Star Wars cyberdefenses, he said. Namely, it not only protects the perimeter of customers’ cloud-based servers, but also isolates them from one another and from Oracle’s own control code inside its cloud. That isolation is designed to prevent an attacker from moving laterally inside the cloud to steal or manipulate data. “Other customers can’t look at your data. We can’t look at your data,” Ellison said.

Furthermore, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure deploys the latest machine learning technology in the form of “autonomous robots” that “find and kill”—without human intervention—the malicious attacks coming from sophisticated, bot-equipped hackers, he said. With first-generation public cloud infrastructures, it’s “their robots against your people. Who do you think is faster? Who do you think will win?” Ellison asked rhetorically.

Among the other design goals for Oracle’s re-architected cloud was to make it easier for business customers to move their existing workloads into the cloud—for example, moving an SAP on-premises application that runs on Oracle Database into Oracle Cloud. “Lift it up, move it over, no fuss, no muss,” Ellison said. “Press a button—very, very easy to do. That's not what most clouds do. That's not what they were designed to do 10 years ago.”

Ellison said that every customer that buys Oracle infrastructure and database services from now on will get this Generation 2 cloud. “That's the only thing we are selling across the cloud,” he said. “We are dedicated to this new, highly secure cloud.”

The Virtue of Autonomous

The most distinct infrastructure innovation is its autonomous capabilities, especially the breakthrough “self-driving” Oracle Autonomous Database. That database comes in two versions: Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud, generally available since March, is optimized for analytics and reporting workloads, while Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing Cloud, released in August, is tuned for complex transactions and mixed workloads.

Because those cloud databases are self-provisioning and self-tuning, they lower IT labor costs—company DBAs can move on to more valuable work than caretaking a database—while also boosting performance and reliability and eliminating human error. And because they patch themselves, while the system is running, the autonomous databases add another layer of software security on top of OCI’s two-tiered Star Wars infrastructure security, Ellison said.

“With the Autonomous Database, you eliminate human labor, you eliminate human error. There's nothing to learn, nothing to do,” he said. “Your developers become more productive, they bring up new applications, they do a better job of analyzing data. Your system is more reliable. It never goes down.”

“When I [say] autonomous, I mean autonomous,” he said. “I read an article—by the way, Amazon did not write the article—in which someone wrote that Oracle may have an autonomous database, but that Amazon is developing these ‘semi-autonomous’ databases…I don't even know what it is.”

Better Performance Means Lower Costs

Ellison presented the results of a series of benchmarks comparing the performance and price of workloads running in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure to those running in the Amazon Web Services cloud. Raw compute workloads, for example, run almost 50% faster in Oracle Cloud and are one-third the cost, while block storage runs five times faster and is one-thirtieth the cost, he said.

Ellison also presented a few head-to-head benchmarks showing Oracle’s Autonomous Data Warehouse and Transaction Processing databases running the same workload as AWS’s Redshift and Aurora databases.

Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud processed an analytics workload nine times faster, translating to eight times cheaper, than did Redshift. In a separate benchmark showing Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing Cloud versus Aurora, the Oracle database ran a workload 11 times faster and eight times cheaper.

“These are all real benchmarks. They're running outside,” Ellison said. “You can check them. This is the best Amazon has to offer. This is their latest, greatest, best stuff.”

Finally, Ellison noted that Oracle’s autonomous data warehouse and transaction processing databases have fundamentally the same architecture, whereas Redshift and Aurora are totally different. “Well, what if your application has transaction processing and reporting?” he said. “We have one database that does both things, but [Amazon doesn’t] do that.”

Ellison showed a benchmark in which the Oracle autonomous database ran a mixed OLTP and reporting workload 100 times faster and 80 times cheaper than did AWS. “By the way, most workloads are mixed workloads,” he said. “That’s a problem at Amazon.”

And it’s a big competitive advantage for Oracle, Ellison said: “You'll never see that in the Amazon retail store. You'll never see them selling you a polo shirt that’s 80 times more expensive than one of t­­heir competitors. We invite all of our customers to try Amazon polo shirts and our Autonomous Database. We now have free trials out there. We think, ‘Try it. I think you’ll like it.’”

Rob Preston is editorial director in Oracle’s Content Central organization.

Safe Harbor disclaimer: The preceding is intended to outline our general product direction. It is intended for information purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract. It is not a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions. The development, release, timing, and pricing of any features or functionality described for Oracle’s products may change and remains at the sole discretion of Oracle Corporation.  Statements in this article relating to Oracle’s future plans, expectations, beliefs, intentions, and prospects are “forward-looking statements” and are subject to material risks and uncertainties. Many factors could affect Oracle’s current expectations and actual results, and could cause actual results to differ materially. A discussion of such factors and other risks that affect Oracle’s business is contained in Oracle’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, including Oracle’s most recent reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q under the heading “Risk Factors.” These filings are available on the SEC’s website or on Oracle’s website at http://www.oracle.com/investor. All information in this article is current as of October 22, 2018, and Oracle undertakes no duty to update any statement in light of new information or future events.

Rob Preston is editorial director in Oracle's Content Central organization, where he provides insights and analysis on a range of issues important to CIOs and other business technology executives. Rob was previously editor in chief of InformationWeek. You can follow Rob on Twitter at @robpreston.

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